|Karl Lagerfeld - not afraid of speaking out.|
Karl Lagerfeld, the creative director of the French fashion house Chanel recently grabbed headlines with this statement:
"Outside of fashion, jewellery, perfume and wine, France isn't competitive," Lagerfeld said. "The rest of our products don't sell. Who buys French cars? I don't."
France's socialist president Francois Hollande may not have liked the comment, but a look at the French economy shows that Lagerfeld's description is most accurate:
A deeper look shows that France is mired in no less than an economic crisis. The eurozone's second-largest economy (2012 GDP: 2 trillion euros) is suffering more than any other member from a shocking deterioration in competitiveness. Put simply, France's products -- its cars, steel, clothing, electronics -- cost far too much to produce compared with competing goods both from Asia and its European neighbors, including not just Germany but even Spain and Italy. That's causing a sharp and accelerating fall in its exports, and a significant decline in manufacturing and the services that support it.